Palma.—The Mayor of Palma, Mateu Isern, did not waste time yesterday in stepping in to avert the 11 day rubbish strike unions representing public sector workers called on Tuesday.

Isern held urgent talks early yesterday with the president of the municipal waste company EMAYA, Andres Garau, and, according to Palma City Council, a deal was reached to avert the industrial action which could have caused serious damage to Palma's image right in the middle of the peak summer season.

Emerging from the meeting, Garau said that the council has agreed to reduce daily working hours by 45 minutes and not to force EMAYA employees to work an extra day per week.

Garau said that he would be taking the conditions straight to the unions in order to urge them to forget any plans for strike action “because it would be extremely counter productive for the capital.” Initially, EMAYA employees were going to go on strike from August 16 to August 31 and then again on September 1 and the news sent shock waves through the tourist industry which reported that occupancy in Palma, including the Playa de Palma, is already at between 70 and 80 percent for August with a surge in late bookings expected over the coming days.

However, the council and Palma hoteliers feared that a strike would dissuade people from coming to Palma and could even lead to cancellations.
But, for now, while it appears that the strike has been averted, the president of the EMAYA Works Committee, Miguel Romero did shed some doubt on the deal reached between Isern and Garau. He disagreed that the strikes have been called off claiming that a decisions will be made today when employees and shop stewards meet to discuss the latest deal.

Romero said that he was “surprised” by the comments made by Garau, suggesting that he may have jumped the gun.
Romero admitted that all parties “were close to a deal” but that nothing concrete had been reached.
He warned that as many as 130 jobs remain at threat and that if strike action does not go ahead this month, industrial action could still be taken in September.

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